Cashew and Coconut Penda

Provided by Rehma Chandaria

Makes approximately 20 penda


  • 150 g ground cashews
  • 75 g desiccated coconut
  • 175 ml plant-based milk (e.g. coconut milk or almond milk)
  • 125 g sugar
  • 1 flat tsp ground cardamom
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Pinch saffron
  • Grated almonds and pistachios for decoration


  1. Put all ingredients (except almonds and pistachios for decoration) in a large microwave-proof bowl
  2. Heat in a microwave on full power (900W) for 3 minutes, then stir
  3. Heat for a further 2 minutes, then stir
  4. Heat for 2 more minutes, then stir
  5. Heat for 1 more minute, so that mixture is thickened.
  6. Use a mould to shape the penda. Top each one with grated almonds and pistachios.


Jam Topra (Coconut) Cakes

Provided by Varshaben Gudka


  • 680g self raising flour
  • 680g dairy free margarine (eg Pure or Vitalite)
  • 230g sugar
  • 100ml plant-based milk (eg soya milk or almond milk)
  • 2 tablespoons custard powder
  • desiccated  coconut and jam


  1. Beat sugar and margarine in a bowl, adding custard powder gradually into the mix.
  2. Add flour to the mix, adding milk 2 tablespoons at a time, till you get a cookie-dough-like consistency
  3. Make little dough balls, and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees ( 350 degrees F/ Gas mark 4) for between 7 – 10 minutes, until they start to brown at the top.
  4. Let the biscuits cool completely before adding the coconut and jam topping.
  5. For the topping, heat some strawberry jam, so that it is easier to spread, and use it to generously coat the whole cake.
  6. Dip the cake in the desiccated coconut



(Also known as ‘handvo’)

Recipe provided by Ranjanben Chandaria



  • 500g handvo flour (ready made – available at Indian grocery shops, made from ground mixed lentils and rice)
  • 125 ml fresh lime juice
  • 500 ml warm water
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 3 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 125 g grated courgette/dudhi
  • A handful chopped methi leaves
  • A handful chopped coriander
  • 2-3 finely chopped green chillies
  • 25 g (uncooked weight) rice
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp Eno
  • Sesame seeds for topping


  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped (optional, leave out if Jain)
  • Quarter tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • Half tsp asafetida (hing)


  1. In a big pan, make a ‘kheero’ by mixing the handvo flour, sugar, salt, turmeric, lime juice and water.
  2. Leave the bowl in a warm place for approx 8-10 hours (ie overnight)
  3. The next day, add the dudhi, methi, coriander, ginger, green chilies, cooked rice and one tablespoon oil to the kheero and mix thoroughly.
  4. Preheat the oven to 220°C, and grease an oven dish with oil.
  5. In a separate saucepan, do a vaghar with 3 tablespoons oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, sesame seeds and asafetida (hing) and onion (if using).
  6. Once the vaghar is done, add it to the keero, then add the eno and mix thoroughly.
  7. Pour the kheero into the greased oven dish, and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top. Cook in a hot oven (220°C) for approximately 30 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 180°C and cook for a further 30 minutes, until browned. Then turn the oven off and leave the odvo inside for a while longer.
  8. Take it out of the oven, cut into pieces and serve.

Chilli Tofu

Recipe by Nishma Shah



  • 340g extra firm tofu
  • 3 tablespoons tamari/soy sauce
  • 3 pineapple rings
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 whole pitted dates (or more depending on desired sweetness)
  • ½ red pepper
  • ½ yellow pepper
  • 2 chillies, medium hot
  • Sesame oil (optional for greasing the pan)


  1. Blend the rice vinegar, tamari, dates and one pineapple ring to a fine paste.
  2. Cut the remaining pineapple and bell peppers into 1-inch cube-shape pieces.
  3. Drain the water from the tofu, and cut the tofu into 1-inch cube-shape pieces.
  4. Slice the chillies in rings.


  1. Warm up a non-stick pan and keep on low heat.
  2. When the pan is warm, add the tofu pieces.
  3. As the tofu pieces cook they will release water – simply allow the water to steam off.
  4. Toss the tofu pieces so that they do not stick to the pan.
  5. Let the pieces brown slightly, or cook until they are hot to touch.
  6. Increase the heat if the tofu pieces are not browning.
  7. Add the chillies and stir.
  8. Add the remaining ingredients.
  9. Let all the flavours blend. If using canned pineapple add the pineapple juice if the tofu is absorbing all the liquid.
  10. Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes, or until all the tofu pieces have been coated well.

Can be served with rice or noodles.


Butternut squash burritos


  • Butternut squash burrito filling
  • Guacamole
  • Tomato and red pepper salsa
  • Grated vegan cheese (optional)
  • Ready made tortillas

To serve:

  1. Warm up the tortillas
  2. Add butternut squash filling, guacamole, salsa and vegan cheese.
  3. Wrap and enjoy.


Butternut squash burrito filling:


  • 1 butternut squash, cubed
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ – 1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 bell pepper, cubed
  • 1 400g can black beans or kidney beans
  • A large handful of kale, chopped
  • Salt to taste


  1. Place chopped butternut squash in an oven dish, toss with some oil and roast at 200°C for approximately 30 minutes, until tender.
  2. In a saucepan, heat a tablespoon of oil and saute the spices for a minute.
  3. Add the pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the beans and roasted butternut squash and mix.
  5. Add the kale, season with salt and mix until the kale has wilted.



  • 2 avocados
  • 1 tomatoes
  • Handful of coriander
  • ½ lime
  • Salt to taste


  1. Mash avocado in a bowl.
  2. Finely chop the tomato, and add to the avocado
  3. Finely chop coriander and add to the bowl.
  4. Squeeze lemon juice into the bowl.
  5. Season with salt, and mix.

Tomato and roasted pepper salsa:


  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 roasted peppers, either readymade from a jar or made by coating with oil and roasting until tender.
  • Small handful coriander
  • Salt to taste


  1. Fine chop tomatoes, peppers and coriander and add to a bowl.
  2. Season and mix.

Chocolate Cake

Recipe from Demuths:



  • 300gms self raising flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 50gms cocoa
  • 250gms caster sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla essence
  • 9 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 175ml orange juice
  • 175ml water


  • 250gms icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp cocoa
  • 50gms vegan sunflower margarine
  • 3 tbsp boiling water




  1. Sift flour, baking powder and cocoa into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the caster sugar, vanilla essence, sunflower oil, orange juice and water.
  3. Whisk to a batter like consistency.
  4. Pour into a greased 20cm tin.
  5. Bake at 190℃ in the middle of the oven for approximately 40 minutes or until a skewer when inserted in the cake comes out clean.


  1. Sift the icing sugar and the cocoa into a bowl.
  2. Melt the margarine with the boiling water.
  3. Add the margarine mixture to the sugar mixture and mix well.
  4. Spread the warm topping over the cake and leave to harden.

Cashew Cheese

Cashew Cheese

(Enough to make pizza for 4-6 people)

Recipe from Diane’s Vegan Kitchen:


  • 125g raw cashews, soaked in water for an hour or more
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons water


  1. Rinse the cashews
  2. Put all ingredients into a blender / food processor and process until a smooth sauce is formed.
  3. This sauce can be poured over pizza as a simple vegan alternative to cheese. It will harden and brown in the oven.

Note: The Jain-friendly pizzas in the photo below were made using ready made pitta bread, passata with herbs, vegetables (courgettes, peppers, olives) and cashew cheese.

cashew cheese



Recipe provided by Nishma Kothari and adapted by Rena Shah




  • 100g cornflour
  • 1 litre water
  • 600g sugar
  • 1/8 tsp vegan food colour (e.g Wilton brand)
  • 1 handful blanched and flaked almonds
  • 1 handful whole pistachios
  • 4 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 3 tbsp dairy free spread (e.g. Vitalite) plus a small knob to grease your dish
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom (or more/less, dependent upon taste)
  • 2 tbsp dessicated coconut for decoration (optional)


  1. Grease the bottom and sides of a dish (e.g. large pyrex baking dish/ steel sani) with a knob of dairy free spread.
  2. In a large non-stick pan, on high heat, mix the cornflour with the water. Once combined, add the sugar and bring to boil. Stir continuously.
  3. Once boiling, lower the temperature to medium heat and continue stirring.  You may notice some ‘lumps’ of sugar.  Don’t worry, continue stirring until mixture is thicker and fully combined.
  4. Add food colour. Stir until all of the food colour is evenly distributed.
  5. Add the almonds and pistachios. Continue stirring ensuring mixture is not sticking to the bottom or the sides of the pan, for about 5 minutes.
  6. Lower the heat to a low setting.  Add one tbsp of oil and stir for 1-2 minutes until combined.  Then add one tbsp of dairy free spread and stir for 1-2 minutes until combined.  Continue keep alternating one tbsp. of oil and dairy free spread in the same way.
  7. You should have a thick consistency that falls off the spoon (but is not runny like syrup).
  8. Stir the cardamom through the mixture for 1-2 minutes.
  9. Turn off the heat and transfer to your greased dish.  Once all the mixture is in the dish, give it a gentle shake to remove any air bubbles and ensure an even distribution.
  10. (Optional) Sprinkle with the dessicated coconut.
  11. Let the halwa set at room temperature and then transfer to fridge.  Once set firmly, cut into pieces.

Talk on the Science of animal experimentation by Andre Menache

On Sunday 31 May 2015, over 35 members of the London Jain and vegan communities came together to listen to fact filled talk on the science of animal experimentation. The talk was delivered by Andre Menache, a retired veterinary surgeon with expertise in animal experimentation and regulatory toxicology.

Andre articulated the need for both a scientific and an ethical argument on the subject of animal experimentation, but underscored the importance of the scientific argument in winning over the hearts and minds of political and scientific communities, as well as the general public.

In his talk, Andre described the UK regulations and international guidelines making animal experimentation a necessity in pharmaceutical drug development. He presented evidence on how animal models are not good models for the study of human disease, discussed how alternatives methods could be used in drug development, and highlighted the need for laws to catch up with science and technology.

Andre also described the differences between industries most commonly associated with animal experimentation.   He articulated how the public in the western world are largely against animal testing for cosmetics, and that industry had managed to develop alternative methods for safety testing response.   He noted how the incentive for profit and cost reduction in the pharmaceutical drug development was driving the industry in the right direction. In what came as a surprise to many members of the audience, Andre discussed how poor public awareness and industry and regulatory dynamics meant that the chemicals industry probably posed the biggest challenge to those wishing to bring an end to animal experimentation.

Andre’s talk was followed by a lively question and answer session, and a short commentary from Sagar Kirit Shah of the Jain Vegans Working Group on attitudes towards animal experimentation within the Jain community.

The final minutes of the event were focussed on actions those attending could take to address the suffering experienced by living beings used for animal experimentation.   The audience were encouraged to read more about the subject, support individuals and organisations doing work in this area , and to consider joining a research ethics committee.

Thank you to Young Jains, the Animal Interfaith Alliance and Andre to organising a fantastic event.


Andre Menache

Andre Menache 1


Should we campaign against religious animal sacrifice?

On November 28 and 29, Hindus in Nepal are planning to celebrate the festival of Gadhimai. Traditionally, this festival is celebrated with the ritual sacrifice of 1000s of animals. If the event goes ahead as planned, as many as 250,000 animals may be killed.


A number of animal welfare organisations, such as Compassion in World Farming, have organised campaigns to encourage the Nepalese Hindus to abandon the practice of animal sacrifice at this festival and/or to encourage the Indian government to ban animals from being sent across to Nepal. We, the Jain Vegans Working Group have been asked to encourage subscribers to sign their petitions and/or join the demonstrations.


We have mixed feelings about these kinds of protests and demonstration.

One the one hand, we believe the motivation to stop animals being sacrificed in the name of religion is correct. Animal sacrifice was commonplace in vedic India, and the leaders of the Jain and Buddhist traditions were hugely influential in shifting the Indian mentality towards one where meat consumption and animal sacrifice are considered inconsistent with religion. Indeed, the example shown by past Jain leaders provide inspiration for much of our work to encourage veganism and non-violence in modern society.

On the other hand, we also feel that the protests will do very little to prevent the suffering or killing of animals. A majority of the animals due to be sacrificed were not reared for the purpose of religious sacrifice. Rather, they were reared for the products their bodies produce (their meat, skin and/or reproductive products like milk and eggs). If the protests succeed and the sacrifices are stopped, all of these animals will still be destined for the slaughter house. Accordingly, we believe the most effective way to stop the killing and suffering of animals to encourage others to follow a vegan diet and to support sanctuaries where animals can live out their lives in a safe and caring environment.

We appreciate that our subscribers will hold different positions. Some will support the protests and others will not.

Whatever your position, we encourage you to use the Hindu festival of Gadhimai as an opportunity to reflect.

We encourage you to reflect on whether you believe it is acceptable to use animals in religious rituals, whether in the form of direct sacrifice, or to use products such as milk or ghee which contribute to the killing of cows and calves.

We encourage you to reflect on a vegan lifestyle and supporting animal sanctuaries as a way of reducing suffering of animals.

And we encourage you to reflect on whether it is better to focus efforts on our own actions and our own communities before campaigning against the actions of others.


Please let us know what you think. Leave a comment below, tweet us, or post a message on our international e-group.


If you you would like to find out more about the campaigns, you can find an information pack and petition form here and here.